ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Perhaps it’s the game Boise State circled on the calendar. New Mexico beat the Broncos on the blue turf in Idaho last season 31-24.
The Broncos have waited for the pay back game ever since. That game will be played Friday.
The Lobos will have one of the players that made that win possible in their thoughts. Safety Markel Byrd made a game saving tackle to not only help the Lobos win, but become bowl eligible in 2015.
“They threw 75 passes in that game in a 115 snaps and Markel Byrd makes that tackle at the end of that game,” said Lobos head coach Bob Davie. “I mean, how do you write that one?”
Byrd’s roommate at the time, Isaiah “I.B” Brown, remembers a game full of solid plays.
“Kell made a lot of plays that game,” said Brown. “A lot of people they only think about that tackle, but Kell had an interception. He also had a huge third down stop early in the game, a big hit. He brought energy to the game.”
It was a happy time for the Lobos later marred by tragedy at season’s end. In December, Byrd lost his life in a single vehicle accident while going home for Christmas break.
Teammates have since paid tribute to Byrd in multiple ways and have dedicated the season to him.
“Every day we think about him,” said Brown. “We walk past his locker. We touch his locker. We got our wristbands on.”
Lobos running back Teriyon Gipson has been extremely productive in a season of remembering the man the team affectionately called Kell.
Gipson currently leads the nation in yards per carry with 12.87 per tote.
“I think about Kell a lot,” said Gipson. “I think about Kell because me and him were close. We were real close. We came in together as freshmen.”
Brown writes down Bryd’s number each day. “I write 22 on the corner of my notebook paper in meetings everyday just to remind myself to go hard for him,” said Brown.
The Lobos are hoping to go hard for Bryd Friday and pick up back to back wins against a team that can easily be described as Goliath to their David.
Brown remembers conversations with Byrd about the Broncos.
“We always talked about how big the Boise game was because of their name and who they are,” said Brown. “I know he would want us to beat Boise as much as anybody else would just from the fact that nobody respects us.”
The Lobos and Boise State have a 7:05 p.m. start time on CBS Sports Network.